Common mistakes individuals make when picking a healthcare plan, and how to avoid them

Choosing a health plan is hard work. Are you making these common mistakes?

Choosing a health plan is hard work. Are you making these common mistakes?

Choosing a health insurance plan can get convoluted. Fortunately doing some research before committing to a plan can save you hundreds even thousands of dollars a year. Following are common mistakes to avoid when choosing a health plan.

Mistake #1: Focusing solely on your Premium and Deductible

We all know the importance of how knowing how much your premium and deductible will cost you. The price you pay for your health insurance on a monthly basis and your out of pocket cost is crucial. However, when choosing a health plan, it is important to also think about your copay cost, maximum out of pocket, and possible surgeries you may need.  

Copay: Fixed amount for a covered service paid by a patient to the insurance company before a patient receives service from a physician.

Maximum out of pocket: The most you have to pay for covered services in a plan year.

Think about the unexpected and plan for it. For example, If you had to have surgery and your insurance only covered twenty percent of the procedure would you be able to afford it?

Mistake #2: Failure to Ask Questions

Don't hesitate to call your insurance providers customer service team when asking questions regarding your coverage.  Calling your insurance can be tedious and when they place you on hold the music can be unpleasant but it is worth it to ask questions regarding your plan. Often people are unaware of the amount of coverage they actually have. If you don't know what your plan covers you are open some shocking high out of pocket cost. Get the details from the experts on the specifics of your plan.

Mistake #3: Settling for a plan and not shopping around

It's okay to take time and look at your options. Compare three or four plans to determine what works best for your budget.

Mistake #4: Paying for more than what you are using.

If you don’t go to the doctor very often and have no chronic health issues It may make more financial sense to go with a plan that is cheaper but still accommodates your needs.

Mistake #5: Skipping coverage because you're healthy  

If you rarely get sick and are young you may think you don't need to bother with health insurance. The fact is, emergencies happen. If you opt out of a plan altogether you will have to pay completely out of pocket when you do have to go to the doctor. The last thing you want to worry about during crises is, " How am I going to pay for this?"

Not to mention you must pay a fee called the individual shared responsibility payment if you do not have a health plan at all. (The fee is sometimes called the "penalty," "fine," or "individual mandate.") In some cases, you may qualify for a health coverage exemption from the requirement to have insurance. Taking that chance is a big risk. It may be cheaper for you, in the long run, to enroll in a plan.

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